The real estate market in Canada—and Toronto in particular right now—is, in a word, bananas. The phrase “housing bubble” appears in headlines in the financial pages here on a near-daily basis, and absurd news stories about bungalows in boring suburban neighborhoods selling for $400,000 over asking abound (ok, there was only one story like that, but still! A bungalow sold for 50 percent over asking). This year, the average cost of a house in Toronto reached half a million dollars.
After spending almost a year trying to buy a house in this city, I have a bit of first-hand experience of just how crazy (and crazy-making) Toronto real estate is.
Expensive houses in Toronto are nothing new. After all, this is Canada’s biggest city and economic centre (for now, at least. Hi, Calgary!), and it’s a nice city to live in despite our current civic administration’s best efforts, but that’s another story. For a long time, the houses that were expensive here made sense—they were big, nice, and in good, convenient neighborhoods. Sure, certain neighborhoods were only affordable to rich people, but it wasn’t impossible to buy a decent little starter home somewhere in the city.